Update from Mississippi


The principal sponsor of Mississippi's House Bill 50 acknowledged that the bill seeks to allow teachers to present creationism. Interviewed by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger (February 10, 2016), Mark Formby (R-District 108) explained, “If a teacher... believes the Earth was created by a Supreme Being, [she should be able to say] that maybe there are other theories than the big bang theory where there was nothing, then nothing exploded and created something."

As NCSE previously reported, HB 50 specifically cites biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning as topics that "may cause debate and disputation," claiming that "Some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information when debate and disputation occur on these subjects." HB 50 is the first antiscience bill in Mississippi since 2010.
NCSE's Glenn Branch told the Clarion-Ledger that the federal courts have consistently found that the teaching of creationism in the public schools is unconstitutional. He also observed that HB 50 would, if enacted, allow science teachers to make such claims as "that women or blacks are inferior, or ... that the Earth was flat or the sun goes around the Earth" to their students while prohibiting administrators from interfering.

HB 50 was referred to the House Education Committee, chaired by John L. Moore (R-District 60). Moore is listed as a cosponsor of the bill but told the Clarion-Ledger that he had not read it carefully and that it was unlikely to receive a hearing in committee: "We're very limited on the amount of legislation we move forward," Moore said. "This has a long way to go to make it through the process, if I even bring it up."